I have been out for almost 6 years now. I was still in high school when I came out and although I thought I knew what was going on in the world, I really didn't.
That all changed when I went to college. I learned so much about so many different people. I was exposed to different viewpoints, I learned what the term "intersectionality" meant, and even while keeping my values and beliefs, I had a change of mindset on many topics.
Even before I came out, I was very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. This support and passion only grew stronger when I had the courage to come out and be my truest self. College really helped me become confident in who I was and who I wanted to be. It also helped me figure out the type of people I wanted in my life and the type of world I want to live in. A world without ignorance would be a dream come true.
But unfortunately, that is not possible.
The best way I've learned to combat ignorance has been to educate myself and others. As cliche as it sounds, it starts with you. You can't expect others to be well informed if you're not. With that being said, when I came to college, I sought out many ways to educate myself on not just issues I wanted to know more about, but issues that everyone should be well informed on.
Luckily for me, college is the prime place to do this since educational and cultural programs, events, and lectures happen all the time! After attending a sexuality and gender lecture during my first year, my eyes were opened to a type of discrimination that I had no idea existed: Trans*/genderphobia within the LGBTQ+ community.
(For this article, I will be using "Trans*" as an umbrella term for all transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer people.)
It is no secret that the LGBTQ+ community seems to be very white, gay male, cisgendered heavy. But I had no idea that there were lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who discriminate against the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. This breaks my heart because our community and all of our progression have been led by black, trans* women.
Yes, in the US we might have the legal right to marry who we want, but some trans* people are still legally allowed to be discriminated against in many ways.
Trans* people still have to fight to be called their correct pronouns and name, they can legally be fired for being trans*, they can be refused medical needs or housing, and they are still not widely accepted by society. Their battle is far from over but one fight they should not be fighting is to be treated equally within their own community.
As members of the LGBTQ+ community, you should be supportive of all identities and all stories. If you only stand for some of them, you might as well stand for none of them. Acknowledge your cis privilege and fight for those who have been behind you all these years.